“What Makes a Saint a Saint?” by Trust Tonji

Trust Tonji


don’t you think it is bad 
how I wake up
craving my phone
with thoughts of my lover
before longing to pray to God
in hushed tones
careful to not disturb his morning peace?
or well, how would I even know if
our time zone isn’t different anyway

when you were younger
did you, too, imagine
angels winged like eagles flanking God,
fanning him with palm fronds, saying
holy, holy, holy, with the perfect precision
that this ignorance can’t comprehend?

here the mouth is scissors
tearing the air with swear words

shit, agriculturists concur,
is not just waste or disgusting
as your swears make it seem
they know how much food
it can help yield, if used as manure

from Rattle #65, Fall 2019
Tribute to African Poets


Trust Tonji: “It has not been easy to be two incomplete halves as a result of being the product of lovers of different nationalities. Father is Beninese; mother is Nigerian: the incomplete cultural immersion that comes with it, the linguistic difference, and every other byproduct that sprouts from love’s lack of foresight. Writing my stories in poetry and trying to get them out into the world is my way of seeking inner peace and escaping a throwing of tantrums that could have been otherwise manifested through uncivilized outbursts of emotions.” (web)

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